I'm confused as the next person over exactly what is happening with BBYA or what it means. And I went to the Board Meetings! Which, by the way, any YALSA member can do. You pay your dues, you can go to open meetings and read the documents.
Instead of fine tuning the BBYA process, as some YALSA members wanted, the Board voted for a bigger overhaul of BBYA. See YALSA Blog (here and here) and the linked documents for the exact details.
I'm a bit hesitant to recap exactly what this overhaul means or will look like, because (as you can see at the Bookends Blog and the YALSA Blog, linked above) there is the risk of misunderstanding. With any misstatement or difference in interpretation being called "misinformation" (a term I read to mean deliberatly misinforming, but others say no, it simply means mistake) one has to be very careful in this minefield. I've had people say questions are welcome; and people wonder why questions are being asked and why such a big deal is being made of this. And stories get a life of their own, and rumors, etcetera etcetera.
I'm confused about how the BBYA changes will work and what these new procedures will look like. Lists and awards seem to be treated the same way; I'm not sure how the various committees will or won't work together; I'm not sure what this will look like. I'm not the only one. Marc Aronson has raised some good points about how these changes may work (here and here). I didn't even think about how these changes meant no youth input into non-fiction books!
Right now, agree or disagree, understand or don't understand, the changes to BBYA are made.
What to do now?
Pay attention to what changes will be made. I have no idea how this will work, but I suggest reading the YALSA blog and YALSA website to read the various committee policies and procedures to see when changes appear on the YALSA website. It's like the back of the box in games, you know? We really cannot say how the game is played unless we read the back of the box. Right now, those rules are being rewritten so it's sort of sit and wait.
Nominate in each category you think applies. While I'm not sure how publishers will handle this in terms of submitting books for consideration, for individuals nominating titles, don't second guess yourself. Not sure if its graphic novel or non-fiction? Nominate both rather than have it slip through the cracks.
Speak up. In the Board documents and at the Board meetings, the Board made the point that it was listening to membership. I know, I know; those who don't agree with what happened don't think they were listened to. Remember -- listening does not mean agreement. The Board had people telling them they used the BBYA list just as it is and people who said not so much and the Board made a decision about who to agree with in making changes. Whether or not the Board agreed or disagreed with your opinion, opinions matter. So keep on speaking up. Honestly, I'm not sure the best place to speak. YALSA Blog? YALSA Bk listserve? Blogs?
So, in sum -- well. There's not much to sum up. Changes were made. Policies and procedures have to be rewritten to reflect those changes. Pay attention to what your organization is doing, speak up, read documents, attend meetings.
Oh, one last thing. At the end of a year, this will be evaluated. I don't have the exact wording that the Board used (evaluated, examined, etc.) And I'm not sure what will be evaluated -- committee experience? How members use the list(s)? But, anyway, as the year goes by and you see things (good, bad, indifferent) about how these changes impact you, your teens, your collection, keep track of it (good, bad, neither) to share with the Board.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy